Chinese students organizations abroad are government funded and according to an article in Forbes written by Anders Cor, he writes that such students organizations should be banned. The article published on Sunday in Forbes says that since the government is using many of such groups in foreign countries for imposing government propaganda, such groups should be banned.
“Chinese students organizations not only curtail free speech, but prescribe correct speech, for example a CSSA demonstration welcoming Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in Australia, and protests against a Dalai Lama speech at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), and against a presentation on human rights at Columbia University in New York City.” said the article in Forbes.
Such Chinese students organizations are now being replicated in many other universities in various countries. “This type of control and influence of Chinese students abroad has persisted since at least the late 1980s. Today, there are about 150 chapters of the CSSA. Implicitly or explicitly, most if not all of them are officially recognized by the Chinese government.” added the article.
In addition to promoting the government propaganda among the students and scholars of Chinese origins abroad, members of such organizations have been accused of espionage many times. The Chinese embassies are also reported to handpick the leaders of their choice in these organizations. Such manners of curbing the freedom of speech and thought in the foreign countries by China is extremely unacceptable.
The most recent example of commencement speech at University of Maryland by Yang Shuping was countered by a video compilation of speech of Chinese students made by the CSSA. Ms. Shuping was strongly condemned and criticized by CSSA and the Chinese state media for just praising the clean environment of United States. She finally had to even apologize for making such a speech!
Such government intervention, propaganda and strictures on freedom of speech are contrary to the principles of academic freedom. “Restrictions on freedom of speech is an issue for which all students who want diversity should demand redress. Legitimate student-led organizations should oppose state-influenced organizations like the CSSA not because it is Chinese, but because it represses free thought and does not, because it may not, represent the diversity of Chinese perspectives. If a Chinese student organization does not represent the full diversity of Chinese perspectives, it is not simply Chinese, it is more particular.” said the article.